Anthony Rendon homered twice and scored on a Bryce Harper blast as the Washington Nationals’ bats came to life in the series opener in Citi Field. Max Scherzer gave up two homers and three runs in seven innings as the Nats took the series opener in New York from the Mets, 5-4.
Scherzer in Citi Field: Max Scherzer snapped a five-start winless streak last week when he got a staggering 18 runs of support in an 18-4 win over the Miami Marlins last week.
Tonight in Citi Field, he was facing the Nationals’ NL East rival from New York for the first time this season and looking for consecutive wins.
Scherzer admitted to making a number of mistakes in the start against the Fish, which saw him give up seven hits, three of them home runs, and four runs total in seven innings, but the support he received had him smiling after the game in spite of the mistakes.
This time out, the Nationals’ back-to-back, defending NL Cy Young award-winner was taking on the Mets in Citi Field, where he was (6-2) with a 1.76 career ERA and a .154/.229/.279 line against in 61 1⁄3 IP.
He took the mound with a 2-0 lead, courtesy of a two-run blast by Anthony Rendon in the top of the first, but a missed pop to center by Asdrubal Cabrera fell in for a hit instead of out No. 2, and Jose Bautista followed with an RBI line drive to center on a 2-2 slider to make it a 2-1 game.
Bautista was 2 for 2 against Scherzer on the night after lined an 0-1 slider out to left field for a leadoff blast in the bottom of the fourth, getting the Mets within one again after Rendon’s second home run of the night, 3-2 Nationals.
It was 5-2 when he came back out for the bottom of the seventh, following a two-run blast by Bryce Harper, and Scherzer came back out in the seventh and gave up a no-doubter of another homer on a 2-2 cutter to Kevin Plawecki, who got all of it and lined it out to left to make it a 5-3 game.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 101 P, 73 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Matz vs the Nats: Mets’ lefty Steven Matz faced the Nationals twice in the first month of the 2018 campaign, giving up six hits and four runs (three earned) in nine innings over which he walked three and struck out 14, with a .194/.265/.290 line against in those outings.
In start No. 3 of the season against New York’s divisional rivals, he was facing a team that had a .242/.323/.383 line vs left-handers, good for 7th/6th/10th among NL teams in 2018.
Matz and the Mets were down early tonight, however, after Juan Soto hit an opposite field single to left and Anthony Rendon followed with a two-run blast on a first-pitch sinker that got out in a hurry. No. 14 for Rendon, 2-0 Nationals.
1 pitch, 4 backpack emojis. pic.twitter.com/MDPQxdm8VE— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 12, 2018
Rendon got Matz again in the third, hitting a 2-2 curve out to left field for a solo shot this time, that put the Nationals up 3-1 after the Mets scored a run in the bottom of the first.
After working around singles in the fourth and fifth innings, Matz popped Trea Turner up to leave’em loaded after two walks and an infield single by Max Scherzer in the sixth, but he was lifted one out into the seventh at 100 pitches total on the night.
Steven Matz’s Line: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 100 P, 64 S, 8/4 GO/FO.
Rendon rolling: Coming into tonight’s game, Anthony Rendon had hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games with a total eight extra-base hits — four doubles and four home runs — over that stretch, in which he was 14 for 54 (.259/.317/.556) with five walks and 10 Ks. He didn’t take long before making it 12 of 14 games in which he’d hit safely, lining a first-pitch sinker from Mets’ starter Steven Matz over the left field fence 370+ feet from home for his 14th homer this season and a 2-0 lead.
Rendon made it a 3-1 game with his second of the night, in his second at bat, taking a 2-2 curve for a ride to left field in the top of the third.
Tony Eight Bags and counting... pic.twitter.com/NbCtf9U8bZ— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 13, 2018
He beat out an infield single in the seventh (3 for 4) and scored on a Bryce Harper bomb that made it 5-2.
BULLPEN ACTION: Steven Matz got one out in the seventh, but Anthony Rendon beat out a grounder for an infield single off righty Tim Peterson, and Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway got Jerry Blevins for Bryce Harper, and Blevins gave up a two-run blast to right on a 1-0 fastball that cleared the bullpens some 370+ feet from home. Harper’s 23rd of 2018, 5-2 Nationals.
Jacob Rhame got the call for the Mets in the top of the eighth, and worked around a two-out double by Trea Turner for a scoreless frame.
Kelvin Herrera got the eighth for the Nationals, against the top of the Mets’ order, and gave up a one-out solo shot to right by Asdrubal Cabrera, 5-4, and back-to-back, one-out walks, before popping up Wilmer Flores on the first pitch Flores saw. Two down. Matt den Dekker K’d swinging at a 1-1 changeup for out No. 3.
Jeurys Familia made quick work of the Nationals in the top of the ninth.
Ryan Madson got the save opportunity in the Mets’ half of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to center by Kevin Plawecky. Ty Kelly came on to run at first, but was forced out at second, and Amed Rosario grounded into an inning-ending 6-3 in the next at bat.
Final Score: 5-4 Nationals
Nationals now 47-46